First UK trial of ‘Vehicle-to-Everything’ system

Source: Vodafone

Source: Vodafone

  • The system involves a cellular services and cloud analytics mega-system which promises to  connect ‘to’ vehicles and pedestrians to guide and update them on transport conditions
  • But it’s taking things a step further than the conventional satnav-style, one way guidance and info system
  • Once connected the system will suck information ‘back' from vehicles and their embedded control systems to enrich the analytics

Vodafone, Nokia and Chordant along with road operators, say they’re road-testing the UK’s first Mobile Vehicle-to-Everything Road Safety mobility cloud platform - a new type of information superhighway which will ultimately connect vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and infrastructure in a seamless digital transport ecosystem. 

There’s a lot of tech marketing trigger words in there, but essentially the companies are testing a cloud and cellular services mega-system which promises to not only connect ‘to’ vehicles and pedestrians to guide and update them on transport conditions (the conventional satnav-style one way guidance and info system) but once connected will suck information ‘back from’ vehicles and their embedded control systems to crowdsource a mountain of near real-time data on the performance of the various transport systems - mostly roads. That data can be converted into appropriate information to be disseminated on the fly to all transport users (pedestrians included - get your headphones on) creating a virtuous information loop between the users and the used. 

That’s the shape of things to come

Also involved in the trial are the UK Government Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAV) and the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) consortium (the ‘Midlands’ is the UK automotive hotspot region). 

Obviously the commercial participants have their important skin in the game: Vodafone is involving its 4G and 5G technology and has its advanced multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology built into the platform. This allows real time road information from Highways England to be displayed initially on users’ smartphones, and in the future, on in-car infotainment systems. 

The platform works with Convex, Chordant’s Mobility Data Exchange facility, to enable dynamic data to be exchanged with road operators and their traffic systems. The trial will also see the UK’s first live implementation of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology. 

Nokia is handling the analytics software aspects and will apply data insights to make roads safer, provide a better experience for users, and enhance road infrastructure management efficiency in a way that can easily be deployed across multiple geographies,” said Chris Johnson, Head of Nokia’s Global Enterprise Business.

Everyone’s a winner

The overall goal of the trial in the West Midlands is to improve the experience for road users by improving road safety, offering valuable new services to drivers and providing road operators with data driven capabilities which improve efficiency and pave the way for intelligent multi-mode transport solutions. It forms part of the Midlands Future Mobility initiative involving the installation of Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) solutions. These include CCTV, weather stations, communications units and highly accurate GPS coverage to make the roads safer and allow for more predictable goods delivery and journey times. 

The trial participants point out that despite decades of improving car safety, there are still about  4,000 people killed every day on the world’s roads through traffic crashes. More than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Meanwhile road transport contributes to around 20% of total global CO2 emissions. All these numbers can be improved. Communication technologies, cloud processing and software are key tools in a kitbag capable of reducing the number of accidents on the road and increasing transportation efficiency. 

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